The American College of Radiology® (ACR®) will save ACR members more than $1 billion through 2023, according to an outside consulting firm estimate. The savings result from ACR-led efforts that thwarted multiple anticipated Medicare physician payment cuts at the end of 2020 and successful advocacy efforts in late 2021, through passage of the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021 (nearly $700 million) and the Protecting Medicare and American Farmers from Sequester Cuts Act (approximately $495 million).
The savings to radiology stem from congressional action to:
- Increase the Medicare conversion factor rate for physicians by 3.75% in calendar year 2021 and by 3% in 2022.
- Push into 2023 the statutory pay-as-you-go (PAYGO) requirement balances that would have triggered 4% funding cuts this year.
- Suspend a 2% Medicare payment cut required under the 2011 Budget Control Act (referred to as “sequester cuts”) for all of 2021. In 2022, the 2% sequester cuts are suspended through March 31, then reduced from 2% to 1% for the next three months, through June 30. The 2% sequester cuts are then scheduled to be fully implemented on July 1.
“Postponing any one of these anticipated cuts in one year, let alone delaying three major cuts, would be quite an accomplishment for any organization,” said Howard B. Fleishon, MD, MMM, FACR, Chair of the ACR Board of Chancellors. “However, enacting legislation to avoid these cuts in a bitterly partisan Congress during a worldwide pandemic for two years in a row is simply remarkable. I thank ACR members for responding to our Calls to Action and contacting their lawmakers, and applaud our seasoned and experienced advocacy team for working so hard on our members’ behalf.”
Mitigating these cuts is a significant victory, but it is only a temporary fix. The ACR will continue to advocate for permanent Medicare reimbursement reform. Please continue to monitor ACR advocacy efforts and be prepared to bring new energy to ACR legislative priorities in 2022.